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Blackwell, Gardner hold their nerve as Australia claim win in Ashes opener

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A half-century to Alex Blackwell and a brilliant all-round performance from Ashleigh Gardner has helped Australia to a two-wicket win in the opening One-Day International match of the Commonwealth Bank Women's Ashes Series at Allan Border Field in Brisbane. Much like the World Cup game between the two sides the result was still up in the air with six balls to go, but Blackwell took her side over the line.

After winning the toss and electing to bowl, Australia put in a disciplined bowling performance to restrict England to 9-228, with Gardner (3-47), Megan Schutt (2-44) and Ellyse Perry (2-50) the leading wicket-takers.

In response, Australia was on the back foot early after openers Nicole Bolton (2) and Alyssa Healy (18) were dismissed cheaply.

Australia's middle order got their side back on track with Ellyse villani (38) and Rachael Haynes (30) getting starts before vice-captain Alex Blackwell took control with a composed 67 not out.

The loss of quick wickets brought Gardner to the crease, the youngster hammering a quick-fire 27 off 18 balls to get Australia within eight runs of victory before Jess Jonassen hit the winning runs with a boundary.

The series now moves to Coffs Harbour where the second and third ODIs will be played ahead of the first ever Ashes Day-Night Test at North Sydney Oval. The first of those games is on Thursday October 26.